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Video Game / Hot Shots Golf

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Hot Shots Golf is an sports golfing game series initially developed by Camelot Software Planning, who would later be responsible for developing the Mario Golf series, and later by Clap Hanz and SIE Japan Studio beginning with the second game onward. Known as Everybody's Golf in Europe and Japan, this Sony-published arcade-style golf series has been around since 1997, and is a popular title on the PSP. In contrast to the realistic PGA Golf series from Electronic Arts, the Hot Shots/Everybody's series is known for its cartoony characters and pick-up-and-play gameplay, with a wildly varying art style.

With Sony closing Japan Studio's doors in April of 2021, Clap Hanz would venture off on their own and release an Apple Arcade exclusive Spiritual Successor to the series called Clap Hanz Golf, which would later release on Nintendo Switch with the title Easy Come, Easy Golf in September 2022.

Main games:

  • Hot Shots Golf (Minna no Golf/Everybody's Golf) (PlayStation, 1997)
  • Hot Shots Golf 2 (Minna no Golf 2/Everybody's Golf 2) (PlayStation, 1999)
  • Hot Shots Golf 3 (Minna no Golf 3/Everybody's Golf 3) (PS2, 2001)
  • Hot Shots Golf Fore! (Minna no Golf 4/Everybody's Golf 4) (PS2, 2003)
  • Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee (Minna no Golf Portable/Everybody's Golf Portable) (PSP, 2004)
  • Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds (Minna no Golf 5/Everybody's Golf 5) (PS3, 2007)
  • Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 (Minna no Golf Portable 2/Everybody's Golf Portable 2) (PSP, 2007)
  • Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational (Minna no Golf 6/Everybody's Golf 6) (PS Vita/PS3, 2011)
  • Everybody's Golf (PS4, 2017)
  • Everybody's Golf VR (PSVR, 2019)

Spinoff games:

  • Hot Shots Tennis (Minna no Tennis/Everybody's Tennis) (PS2, 2007)
  • Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip (Minna no Tennis Portable/Everybody's Tennis Portable) (PSP)
  • Hot Shots Shorties (Minna no Sukkiri/Everybody's Stress Buster) (PSP, 2009)

Spiritual successors:

  • Clap Hanz Golf / Easy Come, Easy Golf (Apple Arcade, 2021/Nintendo Switch, 2022)

This game series provides examples of:

  • Amusing Injuries: Raising a character's affinity by playing as them enough in World Invitational unlocks more Birdie animations for them, many of which involve the characters suffering from these.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: A lot of the rewards for beating tournaments, raising affinity levels with certain golfers and items in the in-game stores are extra colors and outfits for your golfers and caddies. Taken to its Logical Extreme in Everybody's Golf on the PS4, where defeating characters in VS mode literally unlocks their clothing for you to use in the game's character creator, including their personality types.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The '3 Foot Gimme...' mechanic automatically puts the ball into the hole for you if you're one stroke above par or worse and get within three feet of the hole.
    • Starting with the fourth game, the caddies would chime in about hole conditions and the slope of the green while putting. This lets players know which way the ball will roll and helps them to understand the elevation dots on the green.
  • Anvil on Head: Pete, strangely, has a weight drop square onto his head as a Birdie animation in 3. Talk about a buzzkill...
  • Art Evolution: The first two games were released for the Play Station, so technical restraints prohibited full 3D models from being used. Instead, the character models were made à la Donkey Kong Country, giving them a 3D-ish, spritey look. The first game was more anime styled, but the players were obviously adults. Interestingly, the second game was more influenced by Western Animation (just look at Mel) in the West, with had a more varied cast, but retained the anime-styled characters from the first game in Japan (although the Japanese characters were unlockable bonus characters in the Western version). The third and fourth games were released on the PS2, and kept the Western style while benefitting from the more powerful technology. However, when the series hit the PSP with Open Tee!, an animesque style took over and all the characters turned into children.
  • As Himself: Several fictionalized versions of real-life professional golfers have appeared throughout the series - John Daly in Hot Shots Golf 3, Shigeki Maruyama in Out of Bounds and Shingo Katayama in World Invitational.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: Zig-zagged. As mentioned below, the game is fairly faithful concerning the implementation of golf ball physics, rules and golf parlance, and there are designated 'Out of Bounds' areas that force a penalty stroke. With that said, the game can and will force you to hit the ball off of the cart path or out of a shallow puddle if it lands there, there are several advanced techniques such as the 'Rising Shot' that are off-the-wall and feel much more arcade-y, and many holes throughout the series have shortcuts involving bouncing the ball off of various obstacles in the terrain.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Max from World Invitational, dear lord.
  • Canada, Eh?: Zig-zagged. Max's biography from World Invitational states that he's from Canada, which isn't overtly apparent just from his Family Man appearance. Then you get to the color variations of his alternate costume, a superhero outfit, and find out that one of them is pretty blatantly color-themed around the Canadian flag, prominent maple leaf symbol included.
  • Character Customization:
    • A major selling point of Everybody's Golf PS4 to truly make it, well, "Everybody's Golf". Apparently there's even a large community dedicated to making anime characters with it.
    • Open Tee 1 and 2 for the PSP also featured an extensive amount of outfit customization and unlockable clothes, gear and accessories.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After being on the box art and featured prominently as the Series Mascot in games 2 through 4, Mel vanishes without a trace from the series. Most of this is due to his Japanese counterpart, Suzuki, crossing over to the Western games.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Rising, Homing and Spiral Shots. Almost always guarantee a hole-out if you successfully pull them off, but often times, especially on the later holes with more bunkers, water hazards and more uneven greens, they are just too risky to go for compared to simply landing as close to the hole as possible.
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": Toni's normal Birdie pose in FORE! has him twisting and stretching his shoulders. His alternative Birdie pose has him attempt this and pull a back muscle, causing him to stiffen up and fall flat on the ground.
  • Crutch Character: Or Crutch Clubs, rather - most of the games have a pink 'Beginner' club set that requires two button presses instead of three, removing the 'perfect impact zone' and allowing you to focus solely on setting the power of your shots. The tradeoff, however, is that these clubs don't hit very far at all - for most cases, you'd be lucky if the character you're using breaks a 200-yard drive, which even the easier characters using normal clubs can achieve with ease, and you also lose access to Super Spin shots. For some of the later courses, this distance penalty makes it very difficult to reach the green in regulation and achieve lower scores, eventually necessitating the player to practice and get better at the 3-button swing.
  • Cultural Translation: Up to and including the fourth game, there existed entirely different character rosters between the Japanese and PAL/NTSC versions. Beginning with Out of Bounds, this trend was axed, resulting in many previously Japan-exclusive characters becoming overseas mainstays as well, such as Gloria and Suzuki.
  • Denser and Wackier: FORE! is this in spades. As noted in a behind-the-scenes snippet in a PS2 demo disc, when localizing the game in English, the developers, admittedly, didn't want to bother with a one-to-one translation from Japanese. The voice actors were given loose scripts, shown animations for all the characters and pretty much left to ad-lib a good majority of the dialogue, which is probably why a good chunk of it makes little to no sense even in context.
    • Hot shots shorties (Or Everybody's Stress buster in a europe) to the series as whole. Rather than being a sport simulation, this game is a mini-game compilation that includes much more slapstick and weird mini games such as cleaning a room while avoiding sucking hamsters into your vacuum cleaner, fighting a vegetable army or destroying property with a soccerball. It's also notably the only game in the series rated E10+ by the ERSB rather than the usual E.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Prominent in earlier titles via 'VS Mode,' a series of Match Play rounds with AI characters.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Mel briefly went through this when the series went 3D, as he became a caddy in the third game. In the fourth game, due to popular demand he was Promoted to Playable again, although he disappeared from the series after that.
    • Stacey went from being a playable golfer in 3 to becoming the in-game shop clerk in FORE!
  • Developer's Foresight: The entry for the PS4 includes "tornado cups", which makes the holes suck the ball in when it gets close. If you putt the ball just right, it can enter a stable orbit around the hole. Once the game figures out this has happened, it'll just stop the ball dead eventually to prevent a softlock.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Rising, Homing and Spiral shots from FORE! onward. All of them require making contact with the pin, but they look insanely cool and pulling them off all but guarantees a chip-in.
  • Double Unlock: Many of the games are chock full of items that become available for purchase in the in-game points store, or as a roulette spin at the end of a round that rewards you with items randomly. World Invitational, however, exaggerates this, and many have criticized the game for its Fake Longevity as a result. To wit:
    • Every single item in the game has to be purchased from the shop after it's unlocked, including courses, player characters, alternate colors, bonus costumes, extra outfit slots, club sets and golf balls. In previous games, the store generally only held extra items such as alternate costumes and extra caddies, courses were unlocked simply by winning tournaments on them in single-player, and characters and extra outfits were automatically unlocked by beating them in VS mode. Club sets and golf balls can also be upgraded several times, with the cost going up dramatically with each purchase.
    • On the subject of caddies, they cannot be bought directly from the store or unlocked in regular play - they're locked behind purchasing courses in the store. While caddies don't actually appear on the course in this game, this is still an unnecessarily-convoluted and ill-explained step.
    • After finishing the 'Gold' rank tournaments and defeating Pandora in the single-player Challenge mode, not only are the 'Platinum' tournaments unlocked, hiding yet another character to be unlockednote , but all of the previously-hidden 'Crown' challenges are now visible as are the VS character rematches for their alternate outfits, which not only require these crowns to unlock, but also have to be purchased in the store after beating them. This all wouldn't be so big an issue, but even after completing enough rounds to unlock almost everything, you're still plenty of points shy of being able to purchase everything in the shop, making replaying the same tournaments over and over again mandatory for 100% Completion. Agh!
  • Drafting Mechanic: Appears as a new feature introduced in the spiritual successor Easy Come, Easy Golf in the main 'Tours' mode. Rather than playing as one golfer, rounds are played as teams, with individual characters assigned to individual holes, allowing you to level up multiple character stats per round.
  • Drop The Hammer: The 100-Ton Hammer club set in 3 and FORE! replaces the driver with a comically-oversized cartoon hammer.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The first couple games on the Play Station had no voices for the player characters, no visible caddies on the course, no Rising/Homing shots, no unlockable alternate colors/costumes, no flag marker nor terrain indicators on the shot bar, and used digitized sprites for the characters and background objects rendered in a 3D environment rather than full 3D models. Only full power shots with perfect impact were called out as a 'Nice Shot!', and Versus matches also did not have a 'mercy' rule implemented of 3 holes up on your opponent, meaning you played as many holes as it took until you or the opponent could no longer catch up. Up to and including the third game, the background music also had to be turned on from the settings menu, as it was off by default.
    • The first game, having been developed by Camelot rather than Clap Hanz, predates Mario Golf on the Nintendo 64 by two years and shares a lot of its DNA with it. The character designs are very similar to the original human characters in Mario Golf 64 and the game lacks a lot of features that would become staple mechanics for the Hot Shots Golf series, such as the pink impact zone, super backspin shots, a visible and reactive crowd gallery and the ability to skip shots mid-flight. Compared to future installments, which opt for more stylized cartoon-y or anime-esque designs for their characters, the roster here is rather modest and subdued, compounded by the complete lack of guest characters and only a generic male or female voice option for the caddies.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: FORE! features Sam, a samurai golfer.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: A few courses across the series count, but the most fitting is Day Dream G.C. from FORE! , with some holes featuring tons of historical landmarks as obstacles and set dressing, such as Stonehenge, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Eiffel Tower, whereas other holes feature futuristic skyscrapers, urban bridges, racetracks, medieval castles and even giant swords planted into the ground.
  • Fishing Minigame: You can unlock one in Everybody's Golf on PS4 by defeating a certain VS character. Each course has a couple different fishing holes with different species, and catching fish earns you some in-game currency.
  • Funny Animal: Regis and his Japanese counterpart Doggy in FORE!, both of whom are humanoid dogs.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Misaki in FORE! certainly qualifies, although her primary outfit goes sort of half-and-half with ninja gear and golf attire rather than the overtly-stereotypical ninja-yoroi appearance seen in most media.
  • Groin Attack: In World Invitational, Yamato's default Birdie animation is him cockily tossing one of his irons into the air, catching it and striking a pose. One of his alternate Birdie animations has him attempting the same... only to miss the catch, upon which it bounces off the ground and strikes him square in the man-parts. Another alternate animation serves as a Near-Miss Groin Attack where he dodges it just in time.
  • Guest Fighter:
  • Hidden Depths: Despite the cartoonish veneer, the series has garnered critical praise during its lifespan due to its rock-solid golf physics.
  • Improbable Sports Skills: There are a couple of crazy advanced maneuvers that expert players can pull off, such as 'Super Backspin' chip shots that cause the ball to catch fire and suddenly jut backwards after landing, or 'Rising Shots' that cause the ball to stop dead upon hitting the pole, then suddenly blast off upwards and land back in.
  • Lovable Nerd: Hubert in 3 and FORE!, complete with nasally voice, frail physique and extravagantly-verbose voice lines about his bedtime curfew.
  • Market-Based Title: "Hot Shots Golf" in the US, "Everybody's Golf" in Japan and Europe. Eventually averted as of the PS4 release as it is now called "Everybody's Golf" in all regions.
  • Mini-Golf Episode: A few of the games naturally feature putter-only Mini-Golf courses as minigames.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: FORE! is most definitely this to the third game. Not much was changed about the core game mechanics, a majority of the third game's roster returned (one character's animations, Jonnie's, were carried over almost one-to-one and given to a new character with similar proportions named Alan) as well as several caddies (two of whom, Mel and Hubert, were Promoted to Playable) and almost every full course, on top of ballooning the roster to twenty four characters, reintroducing guest characters in the form of Ratchet and Jak, with Clank and Daxter appearing as selectable caddies, and upping the course count to a whopping fifteen to the third game's six. While it's still remembered fondly, the jump in quality from the third game was much less immense than going from 2 to 3, which received rave reviews for its innovations to the series.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Regis from FORE!, an anthropomorphic dog, speaks fluent English and generally acts dignified, but he's not beneath barking, growling and, as seen in his alternate Birdie pose, chewing on bones.
  • Nostalgia Level: Quite a few, most prominently in the PS3 era and beyond.
    • Mt. Sakura C.C., the first course from 3, reappears in both FORE! and World Invitational as one of the default unlocked courses. Northern Fox C.C., another early-game course from FORE!, showed up as a DLC course for World Invitational.
    • Green Country Club and Batala Country Club, the starting courses from the first and second Hot Shots Golf games, were added as DLC courses to Everybody's Golf on PS4.
  • Oddball in the Series: Hot Shots Golf FORE! was zanier compared to all the other installments, with a crazy cast of characters including a golfing super android, a small talking dog, a magical Surfer Dude, and Jak and Ratchet as guest characters. According to behind-the-scenes footage, the reason the dialogue was so strange and ridiculous was because the voice actors weren't given strict scripts, and decided to improvise most of their dialogue based on their looks and animations.
  • Palmtree Panic: Many courses have elements of this, but Aloha Beach Resort in 3 and FORE! and Kanaloa Beach in Everybody's Golf are courses themed entirely around this.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: FORE! features Phoebe, a golfing cheerleader with all of the stereotypical dialogue that applies, complete with No Indoor Voice.
  • Pop Quiz: Professor Koenji's quizzes in Everybody's Golf on PS4, which rewards you for answering questions around miscellaneous golf trivia.
  • Powerful, but Inaccurate: Generally, the further a character can hit the ball, the more difficult it is to hit the 'impact' zone and prevent hooking or slicing a shot. Many characters that can drive the ball nearly 300 yards necessitate perfect impact to prevent this, as they don't have 'pink impact zones'note  and they generally have terrible control.
  • Prehistoria: Dino Park G.C. in Open Tee 1 and 2, and Golfasaurus-Rex B.C.C. in Out of Bounds.
  • Promoted to Playable: Hubert was initially a selectable caddy in Hot Shots Golf 3 before becoming a selectable golfer in the fourth game. Mel was also given this treatment, although he was previously playable in Hot Shots Golf 2, meaning he was Demoted to Extra, then promoted again.
    • An odd case of this occurs in Out of Bounds and Everybody's Golf with the guest pro golfer Shigeki Maruyama and Suzuki, respectively. Both are initially unlocked as caddies, and can be unlocked as playable characters later on.note 
  • Pun-Based Title: FORE!, the fourth game in the series.
  • Robot Athlete: The final opponent in FORE!, Z, is a golfing robot.
  • The Rock Star: World Invitational has Stuart, a Scottish guitar player.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Suzuki's bio in Everybody's Golf on PS4 Hand Waves his absence from World Invitational, stating he was too busy setting up Golf Island to participate.
  • Series Mascot: Suzuki in Japan, and Mel for Western audiences up until the fourth game. Beginning with Out of Bounds, Suzuki was introduced to Western releases and has been a series staple since, serving a more prominent role in Everybody's Golf on PS4.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The first two games on the Playstation 1 used sprites for the player characters and the ball, with the environments rendered in 3D.
  • Surfer Dude: FORE! features Brad, a Totally Radical surfer guy. He also has inexplicable magic powers, for some reason.
  • Temporary Online Content: Everybody's Golf on PS4 shut down its online services on September 30, 2022, causing two trophies and the Platinum trophy to become permanently missable.
  • Tsundere:
    • A few golfers throughout the series fit this trope, but Erika from World Invitational fits this personality to a tee. This is best shown when she achieves a Birdie, where she presumptuously states 'That was nothing special' before turning around and quietly celebrating.
    • With the 'Grump' personality type in Everybody's Golf on PS4, you can make your own Tsundere golfer.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Despite a well-earned reputation for pick-up-and-play accessibility and presence of beginner-friendly settings, you have a surprising amount of control over your s/hot, the game's physics are consistent and fairly realistic, and the games include quite a lot of correctly-used golf rules and parlance that are invoked when you might not expect it (for instance, if you botch a shot, the game can tell if you're close enough to a man-made obstruction to invoke a relevant rule that exists in real golf, automatically offering a drop with no penalty).
  • Victory Pose: Different ones depending on whether your character scores a Par, Birdie or an Eagle or better. Inverted too, with lose poses when you get a Bogey or worse. Conditions can also vary them; in Open Tee, a character celebrating with a parasol will get blown back to the ground if she opens it on a windy hole.
  • Weird Crossover: The PS4 game had a crossover event with Final Fantasy, featuring a Final Fantasy tournament that gave away Final Fantasy-themed clothing and a golf cart. There's also DLC to replace your golf cart with a Chocobo.
  • You No Take Candle: Sam/Musashi, the samurai character from Everybody's Golf 4/Hot Shots Golf FORE!, speaks in broken English in the NSTC and PAL versions of the game. It's Played for Laughs, but it's quite a baffling direction to take the character, since other Japanese characters, like Misaki/Sakura, and Kaz, speak fluent English albeit with an accent, as well as Spike (Whose country of birth is Japan), in Hot Shots Golf 3 who speaks English with no accent.

Alternative Title(s): Everybodys Golf